If you’ve ever wondered what the benefits of horseback riding for kids are or just wondered how to get your kid(s) off their modern-day distractions – phones, computers or television sets. The horses present a great opportunity to get them involved in some outdoor activity? Are you wondering if horseback riding is a sport your kid could get into? Are you worried that your child loves ponies and horses and wants to be a rider? Are you bothered it might be too dangerous an activity for a child to dabble in?
Well, think no further. This article will give you the information you need and discuss the benefits of horseback riding for kids, as well as tips for getting them started.
Horseback riding is an activity that dated back thousands of years and is still flourishing today. There are so many sports that centres on horse riding and most of them are popular and well attended. It is as prestigious as any sports activity could be.
Children, as well as adults, can make great riders. And it is a great activity to get your kid involved in. If they can handle it, there’s a whole lot to gain from handling a horse and learning to ride one.
It’s not a terribly difficult task to teach a kid how to horseback ride. In fact, you might be impressed at how fast they can pick up and learn the steps.
If you have a child who loves horses and is already pretty excited about riding one, the work you will need to do is significantly reduced. But if you have to convince them to get them interested, then you just might need to figure out some creative ways to make horseback riding interesting.
There are a number of very important factors you must consider when trying to find a riding stable for your kid. They should be – a knowledgeable and attentive instructor or trainer, the riding facility should be safe and accessible, and they should have incredibly safe horses.
Before enrolling your kid in any riding facility, take out time to check out the grounds. Find out how things are run. How well they take care of their environment, whether clean or filthy. Do they have adequate safety equipment and how well do they maintain them. Next, you need to examine the horses they have available.
Find out if they are compliant, broken, and completely safe. Finally, be sure to do your research on the instructor they have on the ground. Everyone claims to be an expert and professional but it is your duty to believe them after you have confirmed how valid and authentic their credentials are.
Remember you will be trusting your kids’ safety to them.
Also, make sure they are actually interested in training kids. Not all good instructors have the patience or interest in properly teaching horseback riding to kids.
At What Age Can Horseback Riding for Kids Start?
The age a child can start riding depends on each individual child. Some children are mentally and physically stronger than others. Some kids start as early as two years old, though what is mostly done at this age is getting them conversant with horses by letting them play and sit on them while on supervision. You can start your child off on a pony because they’re smaller and less intimidating than progress from there.
So basically, two years of age is not too early to get your kid started.
Children Must Be Under Constant Supervision
Horse riding is a dangerous activity. It can easily go from fun and great to painful and fatal. This is a major reason why children need to be trained by certified professionals who possess the know-how on training kids.
A little mistake, omission, or error can cause an accident hence, kids must be supervised at all times. Children are prone to making mistakes, no matter how little, but these mistakes can easily be spotted before they happen if a trained eye is constantly on the watch.
Start Them Out With The Basics
Kids or not, whatever skill, sport or endeavor anyone wishes to start, it’s near impossible and downright unadvisable to skip the basics and jump to the tough part. You either become half-baked at that sport or you just don’t know how to get it done.
So it’s important you get your kids started on the little things before letting them move on to riding a horse. The first things your kid should learn is their A, B, C’s – Attitude, Balance, and Control. They have to learn handling, grooming, leading, how to walk around a horse from behind, what side to lead from, etc.
Bigger kids can learn how to care for a horse, no matter how little. They need to at least know how to lift a hoove and get it cleaned. It is also necessary to start kids off in a round pen because of the controlled space. It keeps the horse boxed in so the child can focus on balance rather than control. Remember, baby steps.
The western saddle is recommended for child beginners because it gives the kid a sense of security and protection from falling off.
There are so many basics your kid should learn first before moving to the bigger, more complicated stuff. This is why you need an instructor who knows how to train kids.
Keep Them Active And Busy
Children get bored easily. They have a really short attention span and can lose focus quickly. It is important you keep them active as much as possible to keep them interested and at attention. Give them things to do and exercises to keep them active.
Break Down Complex Skills
It is difficult for most kids to process too much information at the same time so it is better to break things down as much as possible. It helps to keep instructions simple and introduce new moves one at a time.
Make Sure Training is Fun
Kids play. They love it. It’s how they are wired. Keeping them in full concentration on one thing for a long time can be boring if you go about it all seriously. It is advisable to infuse a bit of fun into the training to keep them interested and ensure maximum participation.
Which Horse Breed Is Best For Kids?
Actually, there is no specific horse breed that is best for children. There are however those that are probably safer for them.
For instance, for toddlers, the pony breed like the Shetland pony is more than suitable. This is because of its size which is easier for a toddler to mount and is less intimidating.
Shetland ponies also actually quite cute.
Also, because of how small they are, if your child should fall off, there is a great chance he/she won’t sustain any injury because the fall height isn’t much and of course, they’ll be properly padded with safety gears.
For older kids, however, a less temperamental breed of horse is advisable. The American Quarter horse, for instance, will be a pretty good fit. This breed of horse is very calm and beginner-friendly. So if you’re going to start your kids out on horse riding, this breed of horse is a good place to start.
Benefits Of Horseback Riding For Kids
Like every other sports activity, horseback riding is a great exercise for kids. It not only benefits them physically, but it also profits them psychologically and mentally.
Let’s check out some of the ways horseback riding can do your kid a whole world of good.
Improvement In Their Social Skill.
Is your kid a non-people person, introvert, reserved or shy? Well, enrolling them in a horse riding academy just might be what turns him/her into a social butterfly.
This is one of the key benefits of horseback riding. You give your child an opportunity to make new friends whenever you let them take up new hobbies and not only does your kid find friends in their fellow riders, they are sure to develop to a great and special bond with their horses.
Horses make great companions. So whether your child is so shy that he/she won’t open up to other riders, he/she is sure to open up to their horse because horses rely on their rider’s direction and leadership.
It’s A Great Way To Keep Fit And Stay Healthy.
Physical activities benefit the body a great deal. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity, if it’s sweating you up, it’s great for you.
Horse riding is no different. Your child goes outdoors, takes in some fresh air, and works up a sweat. That’s some great stuff right there. And not does horseback riding get your kid in great shape and health, it improves their hand-eye coordination and teaches them deftness and mobility. They get to learn what constitutes healthy habits and lifestyle and how important physical associations are.
Promotes Self Confidence.
Learning how to ride a horse is truly a great feat. It’s not for the lily-livered nor is it for the faint-hearted. If your child can learn how to ride, he’s got to know he has done something terrific especially for his age(or her age).
Being in charge and in control of such a majestic animal like the horse is an empowering experience for both the young and old, especially the kids because it puts them in a position of power and trust. They also learn to develop leadership skills and become responsible.
The best part about developing these skills during horseback riding is that they do so in a safe place in the confines of the yard with only animals to watch. They can boost their self-confidence and leadership skills without fear of peer mockery.
It Is Fun!
Well, that’s just it. Horse riding is an amazing sport and the great thing is that it’s a lot of fun. Every parent what their kids to have a good time as much as possible, and with horse riding, they get to learn great life skills and have fun while doing the same. It’s a great combo.
So, if you are looking for a way to pull your kids from staring at a computer or phone screen all the time and get them to do something worthwhile, useful, and healthy, you should totally get them to a horse riding school. Not only will they do something useful with their time, but they’d also have loads of fun while doing it. So you can engage them!
It Is Therapeutic.
Horseback riding does a lot for a rider’s psyche. It is easy to get caught up and soaked up in our day-to-day activities and worries. And every once in a while it’s advisable to get a bit of fresh air where you can clear your head and piece yourself back together.
Horseback riding is a great way to let off steam. An enormous opportunity to clear and build your mind which is another reason why it’s great for kids. As much as it has good physical benefits, it has awesome psychological benefits too.
Instils Self Discipline And Patience.
It takes a lot to become a rider and probably a bit more to be good at horseback riding for a child. A good rider is extremely disciplined and patient. It’s impossible to get the hang of horse riding in a day or two and it’s not hard to figure out how short a child’s attention span can be. So getting your child to learn horse riding will be a good way to teach your child some discipline and even better is when they teach themselves to be disciplined.
Improvement in Cognitive Ability.
Studies have shown that horseback riding improves cognitive abilities in a number of children. Because of the brain skills needed to learn horse riding, some kids have also gotten enhanced memorizing, learning, and problem-solving skills.
Getting your kid into a horseback riding academy is not a bad decision to make. You will be doing them a world of good physically, mentally, and psychologically.